When the U.S. military started to leave the Philippines following World War II, they left behind a lot of Jeeps. Over time, Filipinos adapted these Jeeps into Jeepneys, extended Jeep multi-passenger vehicles. New Jeepneys are still being produced and if you've ever been to the Philippines, you've ridden on one of these. Actually, if you've been to the Philippines but haven't paid your 10 or 15 cents for a Jeepney ride, then you really haven't been to the Phillipines.

With the ubiquitous presence of the Jeepney in the Philippines, it's good news to hear that a group called Green Renewable Independent Power Producer Inc (GRIPP) started testing electric-powered Jeepneys in Makati City Friday. Greenpeace and the Makati City government helped develop and finance these 10- to 12-seat electric vehicles, which are made in China.

You want numbers? They're not large but here they are: 12 batteries hooked to 5hp electric motor engines that give each e-Jeepney a range of 120 to 140 kilometers while cruising at 40 kph with a full load. An eight-hour charge (for P120, about $2.60 US) will recharge the e-Jeepney, compared to a diesel Jeepneys that uses P300 (US$6.50) of diesel a day. Of course, the e-Jeepneys cost about P100,000 (US$2,200) more to build than a standard Jeepney, but the expectation is that operators will recoup the cost in lower fuel costs.

There will soon be 50 e-Jeepneys cruising in Makati and in Bacolod City in Negros Occidental as part of the test and promotion period, and the stated goal is to expand the use of e-Jeepneys in the future. The good news for the long-tailpipe situation is that Makati City will build a power generation plant that uses restaurant and wet market waste to make power for the electric Jeepneys.

[Source: Inquirer.net / Alexander Villafania]